Tag Archives: storytelling

The story of Sebastian the rooster

13 Oct

I recently won a beautiful set of cards from St. Louis artist Kat Kissick.

On Thursday, I sat down and and wrote the rooster’s story and mailed it to a friend. Here’s that rooster’s story as I told it. Although I knew Sebastian’s name, I crowd-sourced the ducks’ names: Bob-Larry’s name is courtesy of Aaron Manfull; Marty’s name is courtesy of Justin Striebel.


Sebastian is probably the fanciest, roosteriest rooster you’ve ever seen. But there’s more to his story. It all goes back to his childhood — his cockerelhood, if you will.

Sebastian has always been rather resplendent, but his best friend, Bob-Larry, was an ugly duckling. Literally. While friends and family fawned over Sebastian’s beautiful feathers, they admired Bob-Larry for his barnyard crime-solving skills and entrepreneurial successes. (Who can forget the case of the missing caterpillar? Or his simple but elegant weather prediction system?)

Sebastian felt pretty stupid. Literally. He envied Bob-Larry’s inventions and imagination, and feared his role in the world would be limited to pretty rooster. Until the day Bob-Larry disappeared.

In retrospect, it wasn’t really a big deal. Bob-Larry had journeyed down to the pond where he was introduced to Marty. Marty, for sure, was a perfect match; they got along just ducky, as one (not me) might say. But when Bob-Larry didn’t return home that night, his friends and family became concerned. Channeling Bob-Larry’s sleuthing skills (and recent “Sherlock” reruns), Sebastian figured out when Bob-Larry had gone to the pond. He talked to other animals who’d seen Bob-Larry there. He found where his friend had gone, and used his best cock-a-doodle-dude to make sure Bob-Larry was OK. And he returned home to dispel the ducknapping rumors.

That was Sebastian’s first foray into broadcast journalism. You know him now for his expose on Farmer Jones’ harsh treatment of animals; for the heartwarming tale of Mother Goose’s work at the nursery; for uncovering the truth about the “world’s worst dog” Marley; and countless other stories.

Weighing words

28 Feb

As I was rushing to a very important hair-cut appointment this morning, I heard about 15 minutes of “This American Life.” It was riveting. In fact, I immediately searched for the podcast to download it to my phone, but it was not yet available. When I returned home five hours later, I found it.

Today was different from most “This American Life” episodes. Instead of segments with a central theme, it was one story. Reported by Alix Spiegel, it was a story about her family and 81 words: The 81 words that diagnosed homosexuality as a mental illness, and the 1973 American Psychiatric Association decision that changed those words.

It was not a new story. In fact, it originally aired in 2002, but I hadn’t heard it or heard of it. It’s a compelling storytelling, told in a somewhat unique fashion. My full-time job is all about telling stories. Sometimes I forget that while trying to negotiate the brick walls and hoop-jumping necessary to accomplish everyday, little-yet-important-at-the-time things. Sometimes I forget the power of a good story.

Download the podcast, or listen to “81 words” online.